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An Illustrated FAQ

"An artist is a creature driven by demons. He doesn't know why they choose him and he's usually too busy to wonder why" ---William Faulkner

This page serves several purposes:
  • To answer the questions I know I will get via e-mail if I don't place them here.
  • An attempt to partially explain how one human's simple vacation can become such a monstrosity as this.
  • A repository for odd photos and self-portraits that didn't make the cut elsewhere.

Q: Why do you put so much time and energy into putting your "vacation" online?

PhotoDude at Ford's Point (16kb)

A: For the same reason you breathe ... because I have no choice. For the same reason you have sex, even though it can be exhausting ... because it's such an addictive thrill. I enjoy photography and observational writing, and with the Olympics I found that I could combine them on the Web. That experience was an incredible ongoing creative rush, pure free form fun, and this trip was conceived and planned to expand on that idea. And if you put a highly visual being in the midst of such panoramic wonderlands, there is bound to be a creative flood, and it may well end up on your monitor.

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Q: Tell me what film, cameras, lenses and exposures you used so I can take pictures as good as yours.

Curves ahead (11kb)

A: I shot 82 rolls of Fuji Velvia, and four rolls of Kodak High Speed Infrared Black & White, all 35mm. I travelled with two camera bodies (Canon EOS 620 & 650), one loaded with Velvia, one with infrared, and four lenses (20mm, 28mm, 50mm, and 80-200mm zoom). As for exposures, I don't record that information, but I can assure you I used whatever one was appropriate, as well as several that weren't.

"Gonzo journalism is a style of 'reporting' based on William Faulkner's idea that the best fiction is far more true than any kind of journalism—and the best journalists have always known this. . . . True gonzo reporting needs the talents of a master journalist, the eye of an artist/photographer and the heavy balls of an actor. Because the writer must be a participant in the scene, while he's writing it—or at least taping it, or even sketching it. Or all three. Probably the closest analogy to the ideal would be a film director/producer who writes his own scripts, does his own camera work and somehow manages to film himself in action, as the protagonist or at least a main character." ---Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Q: I already know how to take pictures as good as yours. Tell me what computer hardware and software you use so I can make a web site as good as yours.

PhotoDude at Lipan Point (14kb)

A: I use a Pentium 100 with 80 MB of RAM, and a Polaroid SprintScan 35/LE (35mm film scanner). All JPG's were created with PhotoImpact 3.0 (with two plug-ins, Kai's Power Tools 3.0, and AutoFX), and pages were coded with Homesite 2.5. I highly recommend both programs.

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Q: How did you plan this trip?

The (mostly) White Whale (13kb)

A: Within an inch of its life. This was a total "Net-Trip," from beginning to, well, this page. I utilized the WWW to search for information about the places on my itinerary. Obviously, there's a huge number of pages about the Grand Canyon, but you'd be amazed how much you can find about the less known places as well. I discovered I would be near Antelope Canyon while visiting a web page about Page, Arizona. At one point I was trying to find a room in the tiny town of Mexican Hat, Utah, after finding that the one motel I knew of was full. Expecting nothing, I found a page that listed every accommodation in the town. It's *all* out there.

"Using a camera appeases the anxiety which the work-driven feel about not working when they are on vacation and supposed to be having fun. They have something to do that is like a friendly imitation of work: they can take pictures." ---Susan Sontag

Q:Where did you come up with all the quotes from other people?

Yabba Dabba Do (12kb)

A: It started when I first got on the Net. I began collecting quotes I came across, mostly from people's sig files, about any and every topic. First I culled the relevant ones from there, and then searched for quotes about specific subjects using my Bookshelf 95 CD (which has a book of quotations), and the Web. I also received a nice collection of quotes, as well as pointers to other resources on the web from a Net-Friend by the name of Shadow Dancer. These were all piled together, and when I was writing a page and came to a place requiring a quote, I'd pick through them until I found one that was appropriate. (By the way, Fred's pictured here because "Bedrock City," a uniquely cheesy tourist trap that seemed quite out of place, was located across the street from my hotel at the Grand Canyon.)

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Q: Why are you so small in all these so-called self portraits?

PhotoDude at Yavapai Point (14kb)

A: It wasn't intentional. Only upon editing the film and placing them all side by side did it become obvious. When you spend a week in places that are a mile deep, or a thousand feet tall, they tend to make you realize how tiny you are in the great scheme of things. Apparently I subconsciously rendered myself accordingly on film.

"But our trip was different. It was a classic affirmation of everything right and true and decent in the national character. It was a gross, physical salute to the fantastic possibilities of life in this country---but only for those with true grit. And we were chock full of that." ---Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

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